The first time I tasted Bolognese sauce was my first visit to Italy in 1969. I had it again in a restaurant located near Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. It was only on their "Primi Piatti" (first dishes) menu. I always ordered it for my main course. I worked on duplicating this recipe for 20 years.
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil, divided
2 lbs ground chuck
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups beef broth
2 (6-oz) cans tomato paste
4 T unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
2 t dried oregano
8 leaves fresh basil, torn or chiffonade
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
Fresh basil, for garnish
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic until finely minced; or you can finely mince them with a knife.
In a Dutch oven or large pot, add the 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook the soffritto over medium heat for 10 minutes. Spoon mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
In the same pot, over medium heat, cook the Italian sausage until golden, breaking up chunks with a wooden spoon.
Add the rest of the olive oil and a third of the ground beef and brown until crumbly, about 10 minutes.
Spoon into the large bowl with the sausage and soffritto.
Repeat with half of the rest of the beef, then spoon into the bowl with the cooked vegetables.
Repeat with the last of the beef.
Return the soffritto, Italian sausage, and ground beef to the pot.
Add the beef broth, tomato paste, water, salt, and pepper; mix in well.
Simmer very gently, partially covered, for 2 hours, stirring often.
Add the butter and rest of the ingredients and simmer another 15 minutes.
Boil the pappardelle in salted water until al dente "to the tooth" (about 10-12 minutes).
Drain into a colander and then pour back into the pot.
Spoon in some of the Bolognese sauce and stir to combine.
Spoon into warm pasta bowls and add a little more sauce, if desired, and garnish with fresh basil.